Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Tree work on Theale bypass embankment.

I have received several complaints from residents about the tree work that has been carried out on this embankment, behind Cavalier Close and Mulberry Way, over the last few days:

I passed these complaints on to West Berkshire Council's grounds maintenance manager. He had one of his officers visit the site and speak to the tree surgeon on Monday.

They have agreed to pollard affected willow trees to six metres above ground level, rather than two to three metres, from now on. This pollarding will still look drastic, but the willows will re-grow quickly (like the ones at the end of Cavalier Close and opposite the library did). 

I have received a copy of a tree condition report that was carried out last autumn. This specified different treatment for different groups of trees, and individual trees, depending on their condition and location. Some willows are specified to be coppiced (cut down, but leaving a stump to form a base for re-growth). Again, these should re-generate quickly. Trees growing between the noise fence and the bypass, growing within a metre of the fences or in the ditch are specified to be felled. There are also several trees that are to be felled because they are dead (including some elms) or are leaning.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

IKEA Calcot store to open next summer

I attended a meeting of local councillors with the new store manager last week. She said that the store will open next summer. She said that they will recruit about 350 "co-workers" and that they will be attending the Reading Jobs Fair at The Hexagon on Oct 1st to start recruiting. They pay the Living Wage (the one monitored by the Living Wage Foundation, not the imitation created by George Osborne).
She assured me that co-workers (staff) would be able to park in their car park - there is no separate staff parking.
She also told me that they would consider a park-and-ride scheme during the first few months to avoid the kind of traffic gridlock that we have seen elsewhere. They are putting much more emphasis on home delivery, so its not so important for customers to drive to their stores.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Fallen tree obstructing footpath from ‪‎Theale‬ to M4 footbridge reported to ‎West Berks‬ Council

This tree was reported to me and to the Council by a concerned resident. I followed this up by calling the Council asking it to dealt with urgently as many people use the footbridge between Theale High Street and Pincents Lane to cross the M4.

Letter to local papers re West Berks Council responsibility for affordable housing scandals

Dear Editor,

It is indeed good news that progress is at last being made on provision of affordable housing at Parkway, Newbury, and Taceham House, Thatcham.

However, this should not deflect from the fact that Conservative-controlled West Berkshire Council must accept blame for the delays.

The Council has taken six years to sell Taceham House to a housing association
since it boarded it up.

A poor legal agreement drawn up when SLI was given planning permission for Parkway meant that SLI were able to sell its private apartments for over two years while the 37 affordable apartments on the site stood empty. It's only sanction was to stop those sales. When the Council belatedly did so, it badly affected innocent buyers of the private apartments.

Meanwhile, over one thousand families in real housing need have been waiting for a home.


Alan Macro
Liberal Democrat Spokesman for Housing and Planning
West Berkshire Council 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Consultation on new proposal for housing on the Lakeside site in ‪‎Theale‬

Consultation on new proposal for housing on the Lakeside site in ‪#‎Theale‬
The site is in the triangle formed by the Theale bypass, The Green and Volunteer Road. The site currently has planning permission for 350 homes (80% flats) on the southern part of the site. This permission was given by an inspector at a planning appeal.
The new proposal is for a total of 325 homes on both sides of the lake consisting of: a 70 unit extra care sheltered housing complex, 128 houses and a mixture of 3, 4, and 5 storey flats (60%). The density would be under 50 dwellings per hectare, compared to 78 per hectare under the scheme already given planning permission.

Each house would have on-plot parking and there would be one parking space for each flat plus visitor parking.
The material displayed at the open day can be viewed here
The first page shows the plan that has already been given planning permission. The last page shows how the buildings MIGHT look. Please send me any comments and I will get them passed on to the developers

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Exhibition of new housing proposal for Lakeside site in Theale to be held on 19th August

A new housing development  is being proposed for the Lakeside site in Theale. The site is around the lake in the triangle of land between The Green, the Theale Bypass and Volunteer Road. The land south of the lake was given planning permission for 350 homes by a government inspector several years ago.

The new proposal covers the land both south and north of the lake, which have been under different ownership. If it goes ahead, it will be instead of the 350 homes already permitted.

The developer will hold a drop-in exhibition so that residents can see the proposals and comment on them. It will be held between 4pm and 8pm on Wednesday 19th August and will be held at:

The Peter Gooch Room
The Pavilion
Recreation Ground
Englefield Road

The Pavilion is the building next door to the village hall and social club.

Please pass this information on to your neighbours and friends in Theale.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Updated: Asked West Berks Highways to investigate safety of Theale Bypass/Waterside Drive/Hoad Way roundabout

A lady who runs a business in Theale complained to me about the safety of the Theale Bypass/Waterside Drive/Hoad Way roundabout. She told me that she has two or three near misses a week when turning right into Hoad Way. She told me that vehicles approaching the roundabout from the west often fail to give way to vehicles already on the roundabout.

I have been concerned about safety on this roundabout for some time. There is a dip in the roundabout that, when combined with the up-slope on the western approach to the roundabout, obscures vehicles on the roundabout. Visibility is made much worse when the grass on the central reservation grows long. I have asked for this grass to be cut on several reasons for this reason.

I have therefore asked the Council's Highways Service to investigate to see if a safety audit is required.

Update from West Berks Council Highways Officer:

I have looked at the accident record for the above roundabout.  Considering the amount of traffic it fares well in comparison to similar roundabouts.  Over the most recent three years there have been six  injury accidents at this roundabout with five resulting in slight injuries and one serious.  The breakdown of accidents at this roundabout are as follows:

·         Three occurred on the Hoad Way approach to the roundabout all of these were rear end shunts caused by human factors.
·         One occurred on the A4 (M4 approach) again a rear end shunt with human factors being the cause.
·         Two occurred on the roundabout one bicycle (no information on causation) and another involving a motorcycle which resulted in serious injuries, this was caused by an elderly driver was taken ill at the wheel.

No accidents were recorded involving a right turn manoeuvre into Hoad Way so would indicate drivers are coping well with this at the moment.  As a comparison I have looked at the A4/A340 roundabout.  In the same period there have been 14 injury accidents on this roundabout (4 serious and 10 slight).  I have attached a screen shot showing the location of the accidents for both roundabouts.

We will continue to monitor this but at this time we do not have any concerns over this roundabout.